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Ten-year-old Keisha Carter knows a lot about alligators thanks to a report she wrote last year in school. Her knowledge gets a good workout when one shows up at the Grand River City, Mich., public pool, and her parent’s company, Carter’s Urban Rescue, gets the call from the pool manager. Keisha, her fashion- (and age-) conscious Grandma, her father and her rambunctious five-year-old brother, Razi, head out to save the day. Trapping the young gator is only the beginning of their adventure, since Pumpkin-Petunia, as Razi dubs her, turns out to be an escape artist. Good thing Keisha’s friends are as can-do as she is. Stauffacher’s first of a new series, with two more slated for this year, will please the animal lovers of the comfortable-with-chapters set. If it belabors environmental consciousness, seems self-consciously multicultural and swings toward the didactic when animal issues come up, fans of the Animal Ark series won’t mind. (Though all will be glad Razi’s not their younger brother, since he pushes the bratty-brother envelope often.) Lamont’s spot and full-page illustrations are a nice addition. (Fiction. 7-10)

Pub Date: May 11, 2010

ISBN: 978-0-375-85847-5

Page Count: 160

Publisher: Knopf

Review Posted Online: Feb. 13, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2010

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From the Lemonade War series , Vol. 1

Told from the point of view of two warring siblings, this could have been an engaging first chapter book. Unfortunately, the length makes it less likely to appeal to the intended audience. Jessie and Evan are usually good friends as well as sister and brother. But the news that bright Jessie will be skipping a grade to join Evan’s fourth-grade class creates tension. Evan believes himself to be less than clever; Jessie’s emotional maturity doesn’t quite measure up to her intelligence. Rivalry and misunderstandings grow as the two compete to earn the most money in the waning days of summer. The plot rolls along smoothly and readers will be able to both follow the action and feel superior to both main characters as their motivations and misconceptions are clearly displayed. Indeed, a bit more subtlety in characterization might have strengthened the book’s appeal. The final resolution is not entirely believable, but the emphasis on cooperation and understanding is clear. Earnest and potentially successful, but just misses the mark. (Fiction. 8-10)

Pub Date: April 23, 2007

ISBN: 0-618-75043-6

Page Count: 192

Publisher: Houghton Mifflin

Review Posted Online: May 19, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2007

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Pull this out whenever you or someone nearby could use some joy and clever comics.

No public-domain tomfoolery here; this adaptation is an act of love.

An innocent, shirtless bear wanders through a forest. His blank, dot-eyed face is as aimless as his gait, although he is not without purpose: the location and consumption of honey. Woodland friends Christopher Robin, Piglet, Eeyore, Owl, Kanga, Roo, and Rabbit all have encounters with this silly bear, Winnie-the-Pooh, often to lend each other a hand in friendship or in pursuit of a Woozle or Heffalump. The mixture of personalities balances the sugar-sweetness of the genteel adventures, from the morose Eeyore to the verbose Owl. Rabbit has mean intentions for Kanga and her baby Roo, but they never escalate beyond playful mischief. Christopher Robin, who’s drawn with paper-white skin, is the comparably capable human who cheerfully gets along with the many anthropomorphic animals. Dandro’s black-and-white artwork skillfully renders the forests, fields, and streams of the outdoor setting while amplifying the playful dialogue with precisely timed pauses. The inventive use of layouts and paneling makes this an adept adaptation of Milne’s text to the graphic format. That silly old bear has learned some new tricks, and they may inspire a new generation of readers to discover the delights of Milne and Ernest H. Shepard’s original volumes.

Pull this out whenever you or someone nearby could use some joy and clever comics. (Graphic fiction. 7-10)

Pub Date: April 16, 2024

ISBN: 9781770466968

Page Count: 220

Publisher: Drawn & Quarterly

Review Posted Online: Feb. 17, 2024

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2024

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